Renewable Energy Systems in Indonesia

Key results

  • Installation of 200 solar home systems, 4 microhydro power systems, and 1 solar/wind hybrid system in rural off-grid communities
  • Reduced the use of fuel such as kerosene
  • At commissioning, provided approximately 1,000 MWh of electricity per year to eight remote communities – more than 4,000 people
  • Recipient of the 2000 World Energy Award and the 2002 and 2004 ASEAN Energy Awards
  • Innovative decentralized management scheme for rural electrification
  • Substantially improved the quality of life of connected households with per capita monthly income increasing by a factor of 10
  • Pioneer in successfully disseminating renewable energy technology into local village culture in Indonesia, where apprehension previously existed

We installed autonomous electricity systems in eight remote Indonesian communities as part of our Renewable Energy Systems Project. These systems were commissioned in 2000 and officially transferred to the Indonesian government in 2001. The rural electrification systems were owned and operated by the villages and harnessed renewable energy using solar, hydro and wind technologies.

  • Installation of 200 solar home systems, 4 microhydro power systems, and 1 solar/wind hybrid system in rural off-grid communities
  • Reduced the use of fuel such as kerosene
  • At commissioning, provided approximately 1,000
  • Four microhydro power systems were installed in the remote areas of Ta’ba, Tendan Dua, and Bokin on Sulawesi Island, and at Waikelo Sawah on Sumba Island
  • 175 solar home systems were installed in the villages of Oelnaineno (Timor Island) and Lengkonamut (Flores Island), while 17 existing solar home systems were rehabilitated in Kualeu (Timor Island)
  • One solar photovoltaic-wind hybrid system with a diesel backup and a distribution network was built in Oeledo on Rote Island, in East Nusa Tenggara

At the time of commissioning:

  • The microhydro systems provided electricity to roughly 2500 people with a power supply ranging from 13 kW to 60 kW
  • Each 50 W solar home system provided sufficient electricity for lighting, radio, and television
  • The solar-wind hybrid system provided electricity to more than 600 people and allowed for more than three days of electricity supply in case of adverse weather conditions

The systems, with a combined generation of approximately 1,000 MWh per year, provided electricity to eight remote communities, a total of more than 4000 people. The quality of life in the villages improved substantially with access to electricity. Four to six new jobs were created per village through the creation of village utilities and an economic empowerment program raised the per capita monthly income by a factor of 10 from 62,000 IDR in 1999 to 620,000 IDR in 2007.

One of our main achievements was the development and introduction of an innovative, sustainable, and decentralized management concept for rural electrification. We created small village-run electricity co-ops to manage and assume responsibility for the facilities’ operation and maintenance. With the assistance of local NGOs and users’ groups, we provided a wide range of training to enhance the capacity of the co-ops, and to raise awareness among users to ensure community acceptance of the project. We monitored the systems for two years following the commissioning and handover of the facilities to the Indonesian government.

The project received a 2000 World Energy Award, a 2002 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Energy Award and a 2004 ASEAN Energy Award.

In 2013, the project was used as a case study on how to successfully integrate renewable energy technologies into remote village life. 



  • RWE
  • American Electric Power (AEP)
  • Enel
  • Hydro-Québec
  • Électricité de France (EDF)
  • Kansai Electric Power
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)
  • Ontario Power Generation (OPG)
  • Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia
  • Directorate General for Electricity (DGE) (formerly Directorate General of Electricity and Energy Utilization) of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia
  • Provincial governments of East Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi

Ifugao Ambangal Minihydro Power Plant

Key results

  • First minihydro plant in the province of Ifugao with an installed capacity of 200 kW
  • Providing electricity to the previously underserved community of Kiangan
  • Featured by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in their first world catalogue of good practices in energy sustainability as an example of true sustainable energy development
  • Trailblazer in the development of a replicable model of local, sustainable energy-based development and regional vitalization
  • Innovative creation of a Rice Terrace Conservation Fund that uses funds from power sales to restore and conserve the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Replicated in 2015 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Energy of the Philippines in Asipulo, Ifugao
  • An estimated 600 tons of COemissions avoided per year

In 2010, we commissioned the 200 kW run-of-the-river Ifugao Ambangal minihydro power plant in the Philippines. It provides clean, renewable electricity to the agricultural community of Kiangan, Ifugao and improves the residents’ livelihood by supporting their rice farming practices.

Central to this project was the establishment of the Rice Terrace Conservation Fund, which uses profits from power sales to finance local terrace conservation. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras are man-made structures built over 2000 years ago. They are a central part of the area’s history, culture, and way of life. At the time of the project’s commissioning in 2010, they were listed as an endangered World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education and Social Council (UNESCO). In June 2012, they were removed from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger. UNESCO highlighted the importance of our project in its 2014 World Catalogue of Good Practices in Energy Sustainability and its role in helping to revitalize the rice terraces.

The Ifugao Ambangal minihydro facility benefits the residents in several ways. In the short term, 180 local jobs were created, raising the level of income in the community, with 6 permanent jobs created for the operation of the plant. The plant generates on average 1,200 MWh per year of reliable and clean electricity, meeting between 15-18% of the province’s needs. The plant’s power sales to the local Ifugao Electric Cooperative (IFELCO), secure around 70,000 USD annually for the conservation fund. Since its inauguration, 11 rice terrace conservation projects have been implemented. In addition, farming practices have been improved. The irrigation system was enhanced by distributing water from the headrace directly to the rice paddies, and irrigation practices were given a priority during the river’s low season through scheduled plant maintenance shutdowns.

The significant involvement of local community stakeholders during the pre-feasibility and feasibility phases was essential to the success of the project. Several public hearings, surveys and outreach activities were conducted during the pre-construction phase to ensure local stakeholders’ broad understanding and support. The project was replicated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Energy of the Philippines in Asipulo, Ifugao in 2015.

"At the start when the team were coming to consult with us, we were doubtful and suspicious. We were concerned because part of our forest and rice land will be affected. But after the series of meetings and contacts, I began to change my mind, especially when I saw how the team was seriously working even during bad weather. This was also observed by our neighbours. We gave our consent even if we were not 100% sure. It was a good decision and I was happy when the project started construction and the lands affected were compensated. During the inauguration, there were many people who attended. I am convinced that the project, as they have been saying during the many community meetings, is for the benefit of the community."


The Philippines Ifugao-Ambangal Mini-hydro Project

Clean, renewable hydropower protecting the “Stairways to Heaven".



  • Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)
  • Kansai Electric Power
  • Électricité de France (EDF)
  • Enel
  • Hydro-Québec
  • RWE
  • Department of Energy of the Philippines
  • Ifugao provincial government
  • Kiangan municipal government
  • Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office
  • UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines

Microhydro Power Plant in Cochico, Argentina

Key results

  • 65 kW run-of-the-river microhydro power plant generating 220,000 kWh per year, on average
  • Provides affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to a remote Patagonian community that previously had limited access to energy
  • Replaces all the diesel previously used, providing fuel savings of around 137,000 USD per year and a reduction in CO2 emissions
  • Generated fuel savings from this project and its sister wind-diesel hybrid project in Chorriaca will be reinvested into developing other similar renewable energy projects in surrounding off-grid villages by the provincial government

In 2013, we inaugurated a 65 kW run-of-the-river microhydro power plant in the remote village of Cochico, Argentina, providing residents with sustainable electric service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The microhydro plant takes advantage of the natural resources unique to the Coyuco valley where Cochico is located. Access to a sustainable electric service is improving the quality of life for residents, in particular during the winter when daylight hours are shorter. Other than using the electricity from the plant to power homes, the local school and the health care station, with uninterrupted services, the electricity is also being used to power a hydro pump for irrigation, as well as a water treatment plant for the community.

In addition, the local leaders intend to develop other business activities by introducing refrigeration facilities for meat conservation and cheese fabrication. This will not only help diversify their economic activities, but will also help to inspire the younger generations to stay in Cochico to help preserve the town and its culture.

One of our key objectives was to help promote the scaling up of renewable energy projects in the region, which is in line with national and provincial interests to develop renewable energy generation. The local utility and distribution company, Ente Provincial de Energial Del Neuquén (EPEN), will use the fuel savings generated by this system (calculated at approximately 137,700 USD per year) and its sister wind-diesel hybrid project in Chorriaca to develop new renewable energy projects in the region. We transferred the ownership of the microhydro plant to EPEN in 2015. In addition, the sharing of technical know-how and experience from these projects will help build capacities for the development, operation and maintenance of similar systems in isolated towns within the province of Neuquén and in Argentina.

"I saw Cochico grow. I was the first President of the Development Commission. Today, I’m happy because I see that what I’ve always dreamed of has become real: electricity. One of the most important things is energy. Living without energy is very difficult. People got used to this situation; however, having power now allows us to change our dietary habits and eat fresh food, to improve our health, as well as to create new sources of work. We want young people to stay in this community to allow Cochico to grow, and their future will be different too. We want to help them improve and encourage them to take courses so they can get better jobs. Today, I see the joy that people have when I look at their faces. It is something that they have been awaiting for many years. Cochico has made progress, and hopefully we will live long to see further progress; that is my hope. I anticipate a good future for all of us and I can see the conditions to make it happen."


The Argentina Patagonia Renewable Energy Projects

Promoting the development of local renewable energy sources to provide a sustainable and reliable electricity service to remote communities.



  • Duke Energy
  • American Electric Power (AEP)
  • Enel
  • Hydro-Québec
  • RusHydro
  • RWE
  • Neuquén Provincial Government
  • Ente Provincial de Energía del Neuquén
  • Chorriaca Development Commission
  • Quilapi Mapuche community and Cochico residents

Microhydro Power Plant in Chendebji, Bhutan

Key results

  • Provides electricity to isolated mountain communities, previously without reliable power, substantially improving their livelihood through improved sanitation services, domestic cooking, heating, and lighting
  • First Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project registered for Bhutan and sixth in the world, with 474 certified emission reduction (CER) credits issued
  • Pioneering community-based management model that was used by the Bhutanese Department of Energy as a pilot scheme for future microhydro projects
  • Approximately 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided per year, based on the displacement of other available energy sources such as diesel power generation, kerosene lighting, and fuel wood
  • At commissioning, provided electricity to 50 households, 5 institutional buildings (including a dispensary), and a temple. Since then, the government has connected additional households, schools, government offices and businesses in two adjacent villages

In 2005, we completed a 70 kW run-of-the-river microhydro power plant to electrify Chendebji, a remote village in the heart of Bhutan. The plant is located on the Lamchela Chu River, close to 2,500 metres above sea level, and provides much-needed low-cost and low-emissions electricity to villagers for the first time. We commissioned the plant in 2005 and officially transferred the facilities to the Royal Bhutan Government’s Department of Energy (DOE).

A central part of the project was the development of a community-based management model that was a pilot for the DOE to develop future off-grid microhydro facilities in remote areas of the country. Owned by the DOE but managed by the Chendebji Microhydropower Management Committee, this rural electrification scheme involved the community in the project planning and implementation. Local geography makes the task of electrifying remote communities in the Himalayas extremely challenging. This model is an innovative way for villagers to access clean, modern electricity.

At commissioning, 50 households in the village were connected to the Chendebji power station. Access to electricity contributed to the development of small enterprises, including a new guesthouse, store and restaurant built near the village. The government has since connected two adjacent villages (Nyala and Drangla) to the power station. To further reduce the use of wood for cooking and heating, every household was given an electric rice cooker and water boiler.

At the request of the villagers, excess energy produced by the plant was used to heat water which was made available at a free communal bathing and washing facility.

Access to clean and modern electricity for the first time brought other major improvements to the lives of the villagers, including:

  • More time available for studies and cottage industry activities (such as weaving) after sunset from 30 minutes (total burning time of a kerosene lamp) to 1.5 hours or more
  • Better health conditions by reducing indoor smoke from firewood and kerosene
  • Less time spent collecting firewood, so more time could be used for agriculture and other income-generating activities
  • Access to new electricity-powered learning devices, including televisions and computers, to facilitate education for children and adults even during evening hours
  • Newly electrified village dispensary, enabling use of vaccine refrigerators, telemedicine, and other electric medical devices

The microhydro power plant was officially registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol in May 2005. Not only was this the first CDM-registered project for GSEP, it was also the first CDM project for Bhutan and the sixth to be registered in the world. Full information on its CDM registration can be found in the UNFCCC’s website. The project’s first certified emission reduction credits (CER) were validated in January 2007 and 474 CERs were issued in April 2007. These CERs were shared between the government of Bhutan and GSEP. The UNFCCC also published a summary of the project and its benefits.

"Schoolchildren used to study for just 30 minutes since lighting with kerosene for prolonged periods of time used to cost a lot. The free hot water service is appreciated especially during the cold winter months."


  • Kansai Electric Power
  • Hydro-Québec
  • Électricité de France (EDF)
  • American Electric Power (AEP)
  • National Environment Commission Secretariat, Royal Government of Bhutan
  • Department of Energy of the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Royal Government of Bhutan
  • Ministry of Finance, Royal Government of Bhutan
  • Trongsa Dzongkhag (district administration)
  • Chendebji local community and residents